The 3rd Promise: Process and Execution

During a call this morning with several Strength Strategy coaches we were discussing what makes the Strengths Strategy model so effective and unique. One coach said, “Strengths Intelligence is a universal language” and I thought, “That’s it!”

For me, there is something about diving in deep with the Strengths Strategy model that is like coming home. It’s a way for me to articulate what I know to be true about myself but could not quite explain how all of my pieces and aspects dance together in service of my calling and purpose — how I show up, what I have to offer the world and simply what is me.

I have found this to be true with the executives and leaders that I coach — when they strengthen their Strengths Intelligence and “come home” to understanding themselves, their relationships with others improve immensely. This benefits their team members and results.

This is part 4 in the 5-part series on Effective Leaders by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

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Great leaders focus on key priorities. Yes, the bottom line looms large, but one achieves results and success only after keeping four promises to stakeholders.

Consultants Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams delineate these promises in Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results (Wiley, 2015):

1. Set the right direction and create meaningful work.
2. Engage all stakeholders and hold them accountable for performance.
3. Ensure that processes and systems facilitate focus and execution.
4. Lead effectively. Maintain trust to achieve and sustain desired results.

After setting the right direction and engaging stakeholders through effectively applying their Strengths, a leader must then ensure that processes and systems facilitate focus and execution for their entire team.

Leaders promise to deliver results in the marketplace by successfully executing on key initiatives but they are not able to achieve these results alone. Effective integration of Strengths Intelligence throughout your team enables stakeholder commitment. With commitment, you meet the needs of team member’s Strengths and facilitate productivity and execution successful through clear systems and processes.

Effective leaders channel action into results by providing feedback to the individuals and organization. Action links effort to results, letting everyone know when something works (or doesn’t).

Processes and systems provide a clear path from task to long-term, meaningful results. Promise three is where the rubber meets the road.

According to Anderson and Adams, leaders often break this promise by:

Failing to provide the resources (professional development, time, people or money) necessary for execution

Allowing the organization to be distracted by “silver bullets” or “bright shiny objects” (i.e., an attractive lower priority)

Having few or ineffective processes in place (i.e., everything is done for the first time, every time)

Being so process-bound that execution becomes secondary to the process itself

Depending on in which Strengths Domain your top Strengths fall, excessive focus on processes can rob you of their energy and enthusiasm. For example, my top Strengths are heavily populated in the Influencing and Relationship domains. I find that tasks with excessive focus on processe drain me and I procrastinate in tending to them. In other cases, when systems and processes are in place along with clear goals, team members with strong executing strengths will flourish. This is a critical place in which to know your people well and to match their responsibilities with their Strengths for strong team performance and a well-balanced team.

Repeatedly breaking leadership promises or not ‘knowing’ your people can create a cynical culture, frustration and a “why bother?” mentality.

What happens where you work? Do you, as a leader, know your people and keep your promises? What are the consequences when you don’t uphold the third promise, ensuring execution?

I would love to hear from you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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